This is an extract from Cucarachas or Cucuruchos: An English Teacher's Spanish Dilemma (2019) available from Amazon.
Finally, finally, finally (or, ¡por fin! as a Spaniard would say) I’ve found the Holy Grail: a fool-proof way of keeping my class quiet. And I do mean, absolutely silent. Why didn’t I think of this before? Why didn’t anybody tell me? It will certainly go in my book: Perfect Primary Practice. It’s going to be an international bestseller (this silencing trick should certainly work on children of any nationality). I could become an advisor for Ofsted – or whatever they’re called now-a-days. The Gestapo? I don’t know.
So, What’s the secret? I hear you cry, especially if you’re a primary-school teacher and it’s nearing the end of the summer term and you’ve got another riot brewing. Well, the secret is Blu-Tack, or tacko-blanco as we call it around here because it’s white. Here’s what to do: at the end of term when it’s time to clear the walls of all your timetables; dinner menus; bus-lists; after-school-club lists; pictures, poems or stories drawn or written by the children; and all the other detritus that you’ve stuck up over the last year – just pull them all down. It’ll take you three minutes. What about all the stray blobs of Blu-Tack and torn corners of damp pages? You can’t leave them all up there! Course you can’t. But you do. And you watch.
Before long a child at your desk (it’s María) will start pulling at a stray blob while they’re telling you about their new rabbit. They won’t be alone for long, and poor old new rabbit won’t be the focus of their concentration for long either. María will be joined by Paco and Rodri. Paco and Rodri will be joined by Paula and Laura; and Luís and – and before you know what’s happened the whole class will be engrossed in the most compulsive pass-time since the Rubik Cube took over the world.
I stand and stare (and listen) in amazement as they silently pluck and pull at the minutest pieces of tacko-blanco. They seem hypnotised by the task, showing (not telling) showing each other how it comes off more easily if you use one piece of tacko-blanco in your fingers to capture the smears and blobs on the walls. They work like very-hungry caterpillars cropping the sticky goo until there’s not a micron left. Then they turn and stare at me, looking slightly stunned that half-an-hour has disappeared without any of them uttering a sound. They look almost bereft, as if they have no idea how anything will ever capture their minds so fully ever again…
Tacko-blanco: it has magic powers.
If you like the blog, why not read the eBooks? Zen Kyu Maestro: An English Teacher's Spanish Adventure, (2013 Monday Books) available from Amazon.
And the sequel: Cucuruchos or Cucurachas? An English Teacher's Spanish Dilemma, 2019 eBook or paperback from Amazon.